Be prepared to pay more for less coverage than you would have a decade ago if you're shopping for long-term care insurance.
While some insurers have left the market altogether, others have hiked premiums, made it harder to qualify for coverage, and eliminated the most generous options, such as unlimited lifetime benefits. (See: Leaner and meaner: 7 long-term care insurance changes you need to know.)
Here are tips for shopping in today's tough market:
1. Don't delay purchasing long-term care insurance.
Apply for long-term care insurance while you're still young enough to qualify for the best rates. (See: " Tips for buying long-term care insurance amid rising rates.")The longer you wait the greater the chances that you develop a health problem, which could make qualifying for coverage difficult, says Murray Gordon, founder and CEO of MAGA Ltd., a long-term care insurance agency in the Chicago area. That's especially true going forward as insurers tighten up their underwriting standards. Most people purchase coverage sometime between ages 55 and 62, says Lisa McAree, a long-term care insurance specialist in Boston. "By age 55 you should be looking at long-term care insurance seriously," she says.